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BMW launches new 'i' brand focused on electrification, lower-case letters

Tim Stevens
02.21.11
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BMW already has one of the shortest names on the auto front, but it's about to get shorter. The company has just launched "i," a sub-marque much like the company's M cars but, rather than focusing on performance, highlighting new technology to create cars that are "good for us" while also being "good for our planet." It's what the company calls "premium mobility," cars for daily commuting that will let you "enjoy the finer things in life" without killing the planet in the process. The first two cars are the i3 (formerly known as the Megacity) and the i8 (the auto formerly known as Vision EfficientDynamics), both of which are said to be as fun to drive as a current car but much more efficient thanks to composite construction and electrified powertrains.

Additionally, the company is also working with the My City Way apps, which cover 40 cities in the US and that many abroad, offering traffic cameras, POIs, and even public transit info -- a little odd for a car company. The company is pledging that we'll see these "born electric" cars in production by 2013 and coyly specifies that three is not the smallest number nor eight the largest, meaning we should expect other models to fill that gap -- just like the company's current alphanumeric lineup. We'll surely be learning more about these cars at Geneva in a few weeks, and if you think BMW is just being trendy using the lower-case i moniker, it did launch its iDrive controller back in September of 2001 -- a month before the iPod really made "i" super trendy.

Gallery: BMW's i brand | 10 Photos

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